Thursday, October 20, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 14: Oasis

When we last left Ed Bryce he had discovered Dr. Ellesmere in a build-it-yourself baggage car and had to make an escape only a hex-key could love. The suspense is killing me, get on with it . . . 

After a few more minutes we inched out a bit from under the cedar bushes where we were hidden to see what we could see. There was one of those new, automated mini- train-stations a few metres down the track from where we were. We waited some more. There didn’t seem to be any people around. Our train might have been the last for the night and now everyone was gone.

The sun was completely down. There was no moon. The station was the only light carved out of a sea of black sky and dark forest. 

We crawled out from under the cedars, dusted ourselves off and cautiously headed to the station. 

It was brand spanking new. Shiny surfaces. Ticket machine. A couple of phones. Benches. Toilets. Well stocked vending machines: food, drink, paperbacks, diapers, bandages, aspirin, condoms, T-shirts, underwear. A person could almost live here. Well, until the local teenagers discovered they could beat and pillage it. 

I turned to Mary and asked, “They took my wallet. Do you have any cash?”

Mary answered, “Yes”. She took a wallet from her jeans pocket and pulled out a few ones and quarters.

“They took mine and not yours?”

“What can I say?”, she shrugged.

“Can I have some change? I’m going to call my hotel and see if Leslie left a message.”

Mary handed me some quarters and I went over to the phone. I dropped in a few, dialed the operator and asked to be connected to the Lord Elaine hotel in Ottawa. While it rang I watched Mary go to the food vending machines and try her luck.

“Hello, the Lord Elaine, how my I direct your call?”

“Front desk please.”

“Just a moment.”

“Hello, how may I help you?”

“Hello, my name’s Ed Bryce. I’m staying in room 703. Has a Leslie Warden left a message for me?”

“Oh, hello Mr. Bryce, Miss Warden is in the lobby waiting for you sir.”

“Would you ask her to come to the phone please?”

“Yes, just a moment.”

I heard the receiver being placed down, shoes walking away, then some more shoes coming back and finally a female voice that asked, “Ed, where are you?”

I called over to Mary to read the station name off the outside signage and then replied, “Sharbot Station, wherever that is.”

“What? That’s a couple hundred kilometers from here. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know and it’s a long story, but Mary is here with me.”

“Mary? That’s great! Is she alright?”

“Yes. Fine. And she has both thumbs.”

“I thought so. The police doctor told me the one we found was fake. How are you doing?

“I’m fine. Can you come get us in the morning? I don’t want to take the train back and risk being tracked.”

“Yes, but where are you going to stay tonight?”

“I think we’ll hide somewhere near this station. It’s not cold, there’s no bugs out and we’ve got vending machines. We’ll be fine.”


“Can you bring me some money? They took my wallet.”

“Sure, and who’s ‘they’?”

“Thanks. It’s a long story. I’ll tell you everything later. Where are you staying?”

“I’m going to check into the Epsilon down the street. I only got into town an hour ago and I’ve been waiting here for you.”

“Stay in my room. I’ve already paid for it and it looks like I won’t be using it tonight.”

“Ok. I can’t argue with saving some money. Thanks. I’m tired and I’m going to bed. I’ll rent a car early in the morning. I should be there around 8:30 or 9.”

“Ok. Can you hand me back to the desk clerk and give him fifty bucks?”

“Fifty? Why?”

“Please. Trust me.”

“Ok, but there goes my savings.”

Leslie handed the phone back to the desk clerk and gave him fifty dollars. He took it, but with a puzzled look.

“Hello, Mr. Bryce.”

“Hello, look, Ms. Warden is going to stay in my room tonight. Would you give her a key and keep all this to yourself, ok?”


“And if anyone comes to the desk asking for her or me, well, jilted lovers can cause a scene even in respectable places, so you don’t know anything about us.”

The clerk checked his cash and replied, “I don’t know anything. Nobody here knows anything.”

The clerk hung up the phone, found Leslie a key and said, “The room number’s on the fob. Take the elevators to the right.”

Leslie took the key, swung her knapsack over her shoulder and headed to the elevators. 

“Goodnight Miss.”


Episode 15 can be found here.

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